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NYNB 2021 – Speakers

Contact Name: Aidan Connolly
Position Title: Executive Director
Company Website: www.irishartscenter.org
Facebook: IrishArtsCenter
LinkedIn: aidanconnolly

Aidan Connolly has served as Executive Director of Irish Arts Center since 2007, overseeing the development and strategy of the Center’s programming, leading the successful $65 million capital campaign to construct a new landmark home for the institution. 



Contact Name: Alex Levin
Position Title: Head of Capital formation and Investor relations for Brightline West Trains
LinkedIn: alexlevin

Alex Levin is head of capital formation and investor relations for Brightline, a high speed passenger rail company. Prior to joining Brightline, Alex held various roles at Citi in the Municipal Securities Division, including within the Debt Capital Markets group and as manager of Citi Community Capital’s Strategic Investments platform, which was responsible for all social impact private equity investing on behalf of the bank, including affordable housing, health and educational facilities, clean tech and economic development. Alex graduated cum laude from Harvard with a degree in Philosophy and a citation in Russian.



Contact Name: Alison Metcalfe
Position Title: EVP North America & Australia, Tourism Ireland
Company website: TourismIreland
Twitter: @metcalfealison1

Alison Metcalfe, Head of North America, Australia & New Zealand, Tourism Ireland

Based in New York, Alison was appointed Head of North America in June 2013, where she has responsibility for leading Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Strategy and Operations in the USA and Canada. In June 2017, Alison also assumed responsibility for Tourism Ireland’s operations in Australia/New Zealand.

Alison joined Tourism Ireland in 2002 and previously held the position of Vice President Marketing, USA. Prior to moving to New York, she was responsible for Tourism Ireland’s operations in Canada based in Toronto.

Alison has extensive destination marketing experience and a record of achievement in building and leading high-performance teams. Her career has spanned strategy development, brand management, integrated consumer marketing, communications and stakeholder management. Alison has worked in the UK, Europe and North America.

Alison also serves as Chair of the European Travel Commission, USA Chapter



Contact Name: Andrea Haughian
Company website: https://www.investni.com
Twitter: Andrea_Haughian
LinkedIN: andreahaughian

A recognized expert in Foreign Direct Investment, offshore development, and international business expansion, Andrea Haughian has helped C-Level executives accelerate business growth, maximize profitability and facilitate recruitment, training, and R&D.

Andrea’s experience spans a diverse range of sectors, including technology, financial services, legal and professional services, healthcare, BPO, and global start-ups.

Andrea is proud to showcase the talents of home-grown companies and innovators and enable entrepreneurs to connect with advocates and influencers in the challenging US market.

Andrea is an advocate for the advancement of women, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and is a long-time supporter of Young Enterprise.

Andrea received the Global Recognition Award at the Digital DNA Awards 2019. The award recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact on Northern Ireland’s digital and technology sector on a global scale. Andrea is a past Irish Echo Top 40 Under 40 Awards honouree, has been named one of Irish America’s Most Influential Women by the Irish Voice, and is a proud recipient of the Belfast International Homecoming Ambassador medal.

Andrea is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, has undertaken post-graduate programs in San Francisco and Chicago, and is a graduate of Cornell University’s Executive Leadership Programme



Contact Name: Ashleen Feeney
Position Title: Markets Partner
Twitter: @ashleenf_kpmg
Company Website: KMPG.ie
Linkedin: ashleenfeeney

As Markets Partner for Northern Ireland, Ashleen is focused on driving growth and bringing a market perspective to the deployment of KPMG solutions across Corporates, Government and Enterprise.  She is a member of KPMG’s Private Enterprise Team and has worked with many local family-owned construction, and engineering businesses. 

Ashleen’s career with KPMG has spanned over 20 years and she has extensive experience of advising Government on funding, financing and delivering major infrastructure projects across a range of sectors. Ashleen led the KPMG team engaged to advise on the Belfast Region City Deal – an ambitious £1bn+ investment programme designed to maximise impact on sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Ashleen is a member of the independent expert advisory panel appointed by Minister for Infrastructure, that recommended the establishment of an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland. This recommendation has been supported by the Northern Executive in its recently published ‘Building Forward – Consolidated Covid Recovery Plan’.  Ashleen is also a member of Renewed Ambition Taskforce, comprising key public and private stakeholders, committed to driving investment and building a positive future for Belfast and the wider city region.

Ashleen is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Chair CBI (NI) Infrastructure Working Group, Member of CBI (NI) Regional Council and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.



Contact Name: Christoph Winkler
Position Title: Program Director, Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Iona College.
Company Website: iona.edu
Facebook: hyneinstitute
Twitter: @hynesinstitute
LinkedIn: christophwrinkler

Christoph Winkler is the endowed professor and founding program director of the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, where he also launched the GaelVentures incubator program. 



Contact Name: Christopher Raup
Position Title: Director, State Regulatory Affairs
Company Website: www.coned.com
Facebook: ConEdison
Twitter: ConEdison
LinkedIn: ChristopherRaup

Christopher Raup is the director of state regulatory affairs at Con Edison, which provides electric delivery service to 3.7 million customers, natural gas delivery service to 1.2 million customers, and district steam service to 1,600 customers, all in the New York City metropolitan area.  Chris and the State Regulatory Affairs team manage regulatory engagement on topics including renewable energy, advanced metering infrastructure, electric vehicles and heat pumps.  Chris also led Con Edison’s development of alternatives to natural gas pipelines for meeting customer heating needs, and advocated for direct utility participation in helping the state achieve renewable energy goals.



Contact Name: Ciaran Kennedy
Position Title: Founder
Company Website: www.manymindconsulting.com
LinkedIn: Many Mind

Ciaran Kennedy, principal consultant at Many Mind consulting is a seasoned executive with over 17 years experience bridging the gap between business requirements and technology.  He has a proven record of delivering solutions directly to clients in the fast moving and demanding financial services sector – even before the term “FinTech” was coined.  Having participated in a number of acquisitions, Ciaran’s experiences range from building and operating sales organizations to operating global teams while always keeping a detailed understanding of the technology at play.

Ciaran led the Technical Pre-sales and Managed Services divisions at Wombat Financial Software before it’s sale to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2008 and subsequently became COO of that business unit at NYSE.  More recently he was the Chief Sales Officer for Metamako prior to their acquisition by Arista Networks (ANET) in 2018.



Contact Name: Clare McGee
Position Title: Co-Founder innovate-NI & AwakenHub
Company Website: awakenhub.com
LinkedIn: claremcgee

Clare is a management consultant and mentor with 20 years of project and community management experience working with pre, start up and high growth potential businesses. Proud #Derrygirl and Co-founder of Innovate-NI and AwakenHub and Executive of Eden Project Foyle (an ambitious and potentially transformative project for North West Ireland which offers multiple benefits in terms of economic development, education, the environment and social inclusion). She is passionate about startups, SMEs & third sector organisations and growing a entrepreneurial ecosystem in the North West (Derry/Donegal). Her qualifications and background is in Business Strategy, Sustainable Investment, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Digital Media Communication.  She has extensive experience of managing and delivering business support programmes on behalf of local authorities and is currently co-managing two flagship Business Growth, Mentoring and Workshop programmes with a joint budget of circa £1m and managing a network of 80+ specialist mentors. Over the last 5 years she has also managed a Tech for Good pre-accelerator programme working with 35 3rd sector organisations (7 organisations per cohort) to collaborate with Tech companies to develop technical solutions to social challenges. Clare is past recipient of Digital DNA’s ‘Northern Ireland Business Personality of Year Award’ in recognition of outstanding track record, unique approach to innovation and for dedication to developing talent and contribution to the local economy.



Contact Name: Colin Broderick
Position Title: Author. Filmmaker.
Company Website: www.ColinBroderick.com

Colin Broderick is originally from County Tyrone, Ireland. He has lived in the United States for 33 years. He has published two memoirs, one collection of essays, and most recently, a novel: Church End. He won the TG4 Screen Award for his first feature movie in 2017. His latest feature movie, A Bend in The River, was nominated for two IFTA’s in 2021. The movie will be available on all platforms Oct 1 2021. Broderick lives with his wife and three children in New Jersey. 



Contact Name: Colin Walsh
Position Title: Chief Executive
Company Website: www.crescentcapital.co.uk

Mr Walsh is Chief Executive and founder of Crescent Capital NI Limited and has been an active venture capital investor in Northern Ireland companies for over thirty years.

An International MBA by background, Colin spent six years with Top Technology, part of Hambros plc, between 1988 and 1994. Top Technology was a London based fund manager responsible for the management of the successful Hambro Advanced Technology Trust family of venture capital funds including HATT plc, HATT II LP and HATT II (1993) LP.

In 1995 Colin, sponsored by Hambros, established Hambro Northern Ireland Venture Managers Limited, now known as Crescent.  Between 2004 and 2009 Colin was Chairman of Trafficmaster plc, a company which he was instrumental in floating on the London Stock Exchange in 1994.

To date Crescent has raised four separate venture capital funds totalling £92m and has completed investments in over thirty-five companies based in Northern Ireland.

Colin was also instrumental in Andor Technology plc’s IPO on London’s Alternative Investment Market in 2004 and was Chairman until its sale for £176m in early 2014.  He is currently chairman of Acheson Holdings Limited and also holds directorships at NiSoft Limited, Fusion Antibodies plc, Replify Limited, Acheson Glover Holdings Limited, Lynns Country Foods Limited, Regen Waste Holdings Limited, Analytics Engines Limited and Right Revenue Limited.

Colin previously served a two year term as CBI Chair for Northern Ireland and also four years as trustee for NI on the UK board of Barnardos.  He currently serves as a member of the Committee for Ulster Garden Villages.



Contact Name: Conor Murphy MLA
Position Title: Minister of Finance
Company Website: www.finance-ni.gov.uk
Facebook: Department of Finance
Twitter: Dept of Finance

Conor is a key member of the Sinn Féin negotiating team with particular responsibility for institutional issues and has represented the party at the Hillsborough, Leeds Castle and St Andrew’s negotiations as well as playing a key role in the Fresh Start agreement negotiated at Stormont House and the recent New Decade, New Approach agreement. In 1998, after serving as a Newry and Mourne councillor for eight years, he was elected to the Assembly where he chaired the Assembly Committee, was the Party Chief Whip and also held the position of Group Leader of the Sinn Féin MLAs. In 2005 Conor Murphy was elected as MP for Newry and Armagh. He then went on to retain the seat in 2010. In 2007 he was appointed the Minister for Regional Development, a position that he held until 2011. In 2012, as part of Sinn Féin’s commitment to ending double-jobbing, he left the Assembly to concentrate on his role as an MP. He returned to the Assembly in 2015. Since re-entering the Assembly he has been a member of both the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee and the Public Accounts Committee, Chair of the Economy Committee and Minister of Finance from January 2020.



Contact Name: Daniel Dromm

Daniel Dromm has been a progressive leader in Queens for over 20 years. Dromm was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents District 25 (Jackson Heights & Elmhurst). He serves as the Chairperson of the Finance Committee.

  • In the City Council, Dromm has been a tireless advocate with a proven record of delivering for the community.
  • $4 million to Elmhurst Hospital to create a Cardiac Care Unit and expand the Emergency Room.
  • $6 million to double the size of Travers Park in Jackson Heights, adding much needed green space.
  • More than $860 million to build new schools for our community and fight overcrowding.
  • Led the effort to enact Local Law 6, certifying that all undocumented immigrants in City foster care get put on a path to citizenship.
  • Reformed Stop and Frisk policies – and implemented real policing solutions.
  • Passed Paid Sick Leave’ defending workers from unfair employers and protecting consumers from the spread of contagious illness.
  • Implemented innovative and successful open space initiatives like the 78th Street Play Street and Diversity Plaza (37th Road) to promote local small businesses.
  • Created IDNYC, the city’s first government-issued identification card.
  • Established the community’s first slow zone, bringing crucial safety measures to the district.
  • Funded the first LGBT liaison within the NYC Department of Education, helping to ensure no child falls through the cracks in our schools.
  • Leading voice in the effort to end corruption and bring transparency to the Rikers Island jail complex.

Prior to his election, Dromm was an award-winning New York City public school teacher at PS 199Q in Queens from 1984 to 2009. Dromm is a pioneer of the LGBT rights movement in Queens and organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival. A fluent Spanish-speaker, Dromm graduated from Marist College and earned his master’s degree at City College. He lives in Jackson Heights.


Contact Name: David Surplus OBE
Position Title: Managing Director
Company Website: B9 Energy.com
Twitter: @d_surplus
LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/david-surplus-obe-57b48b7

David is a Chartered Marine Engineer and former Lloyd’s Register Surveyor who moved from offshore oil and gas into renewables 30 years ago to form the B9 Energy group of companies.

 B9 has developed 10 onshore and 2 offshore wind farm projects, provided O&M services on 49 wind farms, developed industrial scale anaerobic digestion, 6 x landfill gas power stations, and is now focussed on green Power-to-X projects to provide balancing load for otherwise curtailed wind farms. The hydrogen produced will be supplied to the heat, power and transport sectors and the oxygen used for secondary sewage treatment in the water industry and for Oxygen Enhanced Combustion at base load thermal plants.



Contact Name: Debbie Caldwell
Position Title: Climate Commissioner
Company Website: BelfastCity

Debbie Caldwell is the Climate Commissioner for Belfast City Council. An experienced climate change specialist with over 20 years’ experience working in international development, she co-chairs the Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board and the Climate Commission.




Contact Name: Dennis Bree
Position Title: Co-Founder U&Co
Twitter: @dennisbree
LinkedIn: dennisbree

With over 10 years of experience working for global brands, such as Red Bull and Twitter, I have also worked on the agency side with both digital and brand agencies. I have also worked to establish my own businesses through harlandandwolff.co.uk and maranthahouse.com.



Contact Name: Devany Báez
Position Title: Assistant to Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education
Twitter: jesuitseast.org
LinkedIn: DevanyBáez

Devany has four years of experience with the Jesuits USA East Province in the Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education sector.

Devany and her team work with thirty schools, including Cristo Rey Network high schools which help make private education affordable to students through four years of professional work experience.

As a proud alumna of Cristo Rey New York, Devany’s mission is to advocate for underserved and marginalized communities.



Contact Name: Elaine Brennan
Position Title:Executive Director, Global Strategic Partnerships
Company Website: https://www.northwell.edu/
LinkedIn: ElaineBrennan

Elaine Brennan is Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships for Northwell Health. In this role, Elaine has created and leads a number of externally focused divisions that deliver innovative collaboration opportunities for Northwell. Elaine originally joined Northwell Health to create the Pharma Ventures group and led the innovative approach to managing and developing collaborative and strategic relationships with the pharmaceutical/ biotech and device industry. Ms. Brennan subsequently established Northwell’s International Program developing strategic alliances with government trade agencies providing Northwell with access to a pipeline of international innovative technologies and companies. In addition, she manages several strategic network relationships on behalf of Northwell that drive value across many cross functional areas of the health system.

Previously, Ms. Brennan was the CEO of Socrates, a health care information technology company, where she led the development and launch of its technology platform in the United States. She also headed up Life Sciences for Enterprise Ireland (Irish Government), managing life science companies entering the US market, screening them for market readiness, assisting with fund raising and commercialization path ways. She also founded Gastroenterology Ireland, which combined a cluster of companies, research and development, and Irish opinion leaders in Ireland and the US with the purpose of creating a niche competency for a country, driving funding and innovation.

Her pharmaceutical career at Roche, Bristol Myers Squibb and AbbVie included marketing/sales and clinical roles launching blockbuster products in the virology sector.

Ms. Brennan has published scientific articles on genetic engineering and biodegradable polymers applications, and patented many products in the same area. She earned her science degree in the United Kingdom and her early education in Ireland and Belgium.



Contact Name: Elinor Tatum
Position Title:Publisher Amsterdam News
Company Website: amsterdamnews.com
Twitter: @elinortatum
LinkedIn: ElinorTatum

Elinor Tatum is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of the New York Amsterdam News, the oldest and largest black newspaper in the City of New York, and one of the oldest ethnic papers in the United States.

Ms. Tatum was appointed to Editor in Chief in 1997, becoming one of the youngest publishers in the history of the black press. She began at the newspaper as a journalist, covering local and national issues affecting Harlem and the Black community. Under her watch, the Amsterdam News has evolved from typewriters to total computerization and undergone several new layouts with refocused content relevant to a wider African American community in New York and across the nation and the creation of Amsterdamnews.com, the paper’s online edition. Ms. Tatum has positioned the newspaper as a critical part of the national political discourse concerning African Americans.

In addition to publishing the Amsterdam News, Ms. Tatum’s political insight is also increasingly sought-after –She regularly moderates debates and hosts interviews on Manhattan Neighborhood Network. She has appeared on WNBC evening news, and on NY1. She has guest hosted on the international network ARISE. She has also appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Fox 5, and CUNY TV. In addition, for over 11 years, Ms. Tatum had produced and co-hosted a weekly segment of Al Sharpton’s daily radio show “Keepin’ It Real” – a nationally syndicated talk show that airs in over forty markets.

Ms. Tatum is also a prolific keynote speaker, and expert on topics of media, race, politics and culture. In 2004 she served on the Nielsen Independent Task Force on TV Measurement. After the Election of Andrew Cuomo in 2010 Ms. Tatum was named to his transition team on the Committee on Economic Development and Labor. She currently sits on the State’s Tourism Advisory Council. Governor Cuomo’s MWBE Advisory Council and the NY Forward Reopening Advisory Board and most recently was appointed by the Governor to the board of directors of the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).

Ms. Tatum was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.S. in Government Studies in 1993. She continued her education at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden, studying International relations and the Swedish model of government. Ms. Tatum holds a Master’s degree in Journalism in Mass Communications from New York University.

In addition to her career in journalism, Ms. Tatum is a philanthropist and holds many civic positions. She is currently, a member of the Board of Trustees of her college alma mater, St. Lawrence University. She serves of the board of New York City Center; The Board of Glasgow Caledonian New York City University. In addition she currently sits on the board of the Harriet and Esteban Vicente Foundation, The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and the Creative Visions Foundation. As well as the White Feather Farm  and White Feather Forest Inc Boards   Ms. Tatum has received numerous business awards, honors and media recognition. In her spare time, she is also an alpine ski instructor at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in Highmount, NY.



Contact Name: Erin Rice
Position Title: Chief of Staff, Senator Richard J. Codey, District 27
Facebook: ErinRice
Twitter: @ErinRiceNJ

Erin is Chief of Staff to Senator Richard J. Codey, former Governor of New Jersey who represents the 27th District in the NJ Senate.  Her work covers all aspects of legislation, especially before the Environment and Energy and Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committees on which the Senator sits.

Erin served as Community Relations and Political Action Committee Coordinator for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825. Previously she worked at Lenox Consulting, a US and Ireland based strategic communications firm. Prior, Erin was an aide to Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. In addition to her governmental role, Erin also served as Campaign Manager for his re-election and has worked on countless campaigns in various capacities.

Erin is a founding Board member of Irish Network’s NJ Chapter and was named 2016 Irish American Youth Ambassador by the Irish Echo.  She is a member of the non-partisan Women’s Political Caucus and has been honored for her dedication to NJ’s Labor community. She was an elected delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She earned a BA in English, Journalism Concentration from Montclair State University. A lifelong New Jersey girl, Erin lives in Morristown.



Contact Name: Gavan Corr
Position Title: Co-Founder, Qarik, New York

Prior to founding Qarik, Gavan was the Principal of Financial Services at Google Cloud Platform. He began his career at First Derivatives. This was followed by three years at Gemstone Systems before moving to NYSE Euronext. Following that he ran the Options market Making desk at Cowen also setting up their presence in Belfast.

Gavan is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and the Ulster Business School.



Contact Name: Geraldine Hughes
Position Title: Actor, director, producer, writer
Instagram: @geraldeenskie

Geraldine Hughes received the Los Angeles Ovation, Garland and Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance for her solo play Belfast Blues, which she also wrote. Geraldine’s stage credits include: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, as Professor McGonagall, Jerusalem, opposite Mark Rylance (Broadway and West End). Other theatre credits include: Particle Of Dread (opposite Stephen Rea), Cyrano De Bergerac (Broadway), Translations (Broadway), Molly Sweeney (Irish Repertory Theatre), Pumpgirl (MTC), Orson’s Shadow, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Weir, and The Architect.
Television credits include: Kevin Can Wait, Law and Order SVU, The Blacklist (recurring), Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Mercy, The Good Wife, Law and Order CI, Law & Order, Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle, ER. She has starred in several features including The Book Of Henry, Time Out Of Mind, Gran Torino, Rocky Balboa and in National Geographic’s Killing Lincoln, and most recently Nine Days, with Winston Duke and Benedict Wong. Geraldine received an honorary doctorate from Queens University, Belfast for her contribution to the arts. She is currently filming the new Showtime TV series Your Honor, opposite Bryan Cranston.



Contact Name: Giancarlo Di Vece
Position Title: CEO
Company Website: www.unosquare.com
Twitter: @giandivece
LinkedIn: giandivece 

As President and CEO of Unosquare Giancarlo Di Vece believes software engineering is not only a science, it’s also an art. This refreshing viewpoint, along with his leadership and passion for technology, globalization, and IT recruitment talent, has led to thousands of business projects successfully completing their digital transformation initiatives with Unosquare in creative and pioneering ways.

Giancarlo focuses his organization’s efforts on the financial services and life sciences space, as he trusts that these are the organizations that impact the way people live and interact with one another every day. Under Giancarlo’s direction, he and his team actively seek the best talent and then places them into processes and practices for distributed agile augmentation. His goal? To make today better than the past, and help companies move their projects towards the future.

Always looking for a challenge, Giancarlo started gainfully buying and growing businesses at a young age. At the age of 21, he purchased a small craft company dedicated to the North American market and transformed it into a 200-person operation selling to some of the largest retailers in the US. In 2013, with a background in industrial engineering, he decided to move into the technology industry by joining Unosquare and quickly embraced his role of transforming the organization to align with client needs.

By helping organizations understand their projects, manage their talent, and realize their process, Unosquare has been named one of the 100 fastest-growing private businesses in Oregon for 8 years in a row and one of the fastest-growing US companies on the Inc. 5000 list for 7 years in a row. Giancarlo’s enthusiasm and contributions have been sought out as inspiration for others, and he is often invited to write and speak on the topics that influence the industry.

Unosquare currently has 800 employees in the US, Mexico, UK, Bolivia, Colombia, and Argentina.



Contact Name: Grainia Long
Position Title: Chief Executive
Company Website: www.nihe.gov.uk
Facebook: housingexecutive
Twitter: @nihecommunity

Grainia Long is the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland and one of the largest publically owned social landlords in Europe, managing 84,000 homes. 

Previously, Grainia was the Commissioner for Resilience for the city of Belfast, and co-Chaired the Belfast Climate Commission.   Grainia was also the Chief Executive of the National Child Protection Charity in the Republic of Ireland, ISPCC Childline.   This position followed several years working in housing, including as Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), and previously National Director of the CIH in Northern Ireland.   She has served two terms as a member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, was a member of the Lyons Commission on Housing Supply and Advisor to the Best Commission on the Future of Housing in Northern Ireland.  Grainia is currently Chair of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Trust, a social housing provider in England, and Senior Independent Director on MTVH Group Board.  




Contact Name: Howard Hastings
Position Title: Managing Director, Hastings Hotels

Hotelier Howard Hastings is chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Managing Director of Hastings Hotels – the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland – which runs the Europa, Stormont, Everglades and Slieve Donard Hotels, the Culloden Estate and Spa and Ballygally Castle.

The company also owns the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. He is to receive the degree of Doctor of Sciences in recognition of services to the hospitality and tourism industries – following in the footsteps of his father and group chairman Sir William Hastings who was awarded an Honorary Degree by Ulster in 1986.

William Hastings already had a proven track record as a successful publican when established the family business in 1968. Howard was appointed Operations Manager in 1989 before taking over as Managing Director. He studied Law at Nottingham University and later qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Peat Marwick (now KPMG). He subsequently graduated with an MSc in Executive Leadership from the University of Ulster’s Business School.

Howard Hastings is a member and former chairman of both the Institute of Directors and the DEL run Future Skills Action Group. He is the founding Chairman of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation and apart from one short break has been a member of Tourism Ireland – one of the cross border bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement – since its inception in 2000. He is also served on Investors in People, the New Deal taskforce and the Tourism and Hospitality Training Council.



Contact Name: Jill Robb
Position Title: Marketing / Sales Director
Company Website: (UK site) www.origin-digital.com
(US site) meetorigin.com
Twitter: jillrobb
LinkedIn: jillrobb

Jill Robb is a managing partner of Origin Digital US and a Director of Origin Digital’s UK operations. Jill founded her Digital Marketing Agency in 2009 which was then acquired by Origin Partners to create Origin Digital (UK) in 2014.

Over 15 year’s in the digital marketing space, Jill has delivered millions of dollars worth of revenue to her clients across retail, banking, financial services and insurance. She  brings both the cutting edge of digital marketing strategies and consultative advice to FinServ sector clients in North America, The UK and Ireland.

Jill is also an industry speaker in the Digital Marketing arena and a Visiting Professor for Ulster University, lecturing on the MSc Digital Media, Communication and Leadership. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Fintech Corridor (Ireland) and on the Marketing Leadership Team for social enterprise Business In The Community (Northern Ireland).

Jill received her Post Grad in Professional & Managerial Development and her Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies with marketing from Ulster University, and also attended Wesley College, Delaware.



Contact Name: John Fitzpatrick OBE
Position Title: President, CEO Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, New York
Twitter: @FitzpatrickNYC
LinkedIn: johnf9

John Fitzpatrick, is a well known hotelier and philanthropist, and owner of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group New York. He was born in Dublin, and with his father, brothers and sisters worked in many of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group’s Irish hotels in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He has called New York home since he opened the doors of the Fitzpatrick Manhattan in December 1991.  The Fitzpatrick Manhattan hotel, was the only Irish owned and operated hotel in New York. Today, Fitzpatrick Manhattan and it’s sister hotel, Fitzpatrick Grand Central are still the only Irish owned and operated properties in Manhattan.
John learnt everything about the hotel business from his father, Paddy Fitzpatrick, who worked in many hotels in Ireland prior to buying the Killiney Castle Hotel in Dublin. He soon added the Fitzpatrick Shamrock Hotel in Bunratty, County Clare, and the Fitzpatrick Silver Springs in Cork.  His mother Eithne, a former Miss Ireland, was also hugely influential on his career.  She worked with his father on building up the family business and on every aspect the hotels interior design.
The second eldest of Paddy and Eithne’s five children, John wanted to get international experiences, and headed to the United States at an early age. He worked in various cities including Las Vegas and Chicago, before he come back to the family business in Ireland. In 1990 he returned to New York to look for a suitable property to renovate and turn into a Fitzpatrick Hotel. To save money he stayed in the empty hotel during construction, padlocking the door after the crews went home at night.  The hotel opened its doors in December 1991. The hotel has become hugely popular with heads of state, Irish stars and the Hollywood A-list alike. Due to its success, a couple of years later John opened another New York hotel  – The Fitzpatrick Grand Central.
Such is John’s reputation in the hospitality industry that he has served terms as chairman of the New York Hotel Association, chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and is currently chairman of The Ireland Funds.
When his parents passed away, John decided to commemorate her with an annual golf tournament. To date this event has raised millions of dollars, these funds have been used to support various charities including Corrymeela Centre, County Antrim, Barrettstown, County Wicklow, and Barnardos. All of the funds are distributed via the Paddy & Eithne Memorial Fund.




Contact Name: John Lee
Position Title: VP, Goodman Media International/President, Irish Business Org. of NY
Company Website: www.goodmanmedia.com / www.ibonewyork.org
Facebook: Johnn Lee Media
Twitter: johnleemedia
LinkedIn: johnleemedia

John is a PR executive with Goodman Media International, president of the Irish Business Organization of NY, and co-host of the podcast Irish Stew: Conversation for the Global Irish Nation.



Contact Name: Kate Nicholl
Position Title: Lord Mayor of Belfast

The current Lord Mayor of Belfast is Councillor Kate Nicholl who took up office on 1 June 2021.

A member of the Alliance Party, she was elected as a representative for the Balmoral district at the 2019 Local Government Election.

Councillor Nicholl, 33, was born in Zimbabwe and moved with her family to Belfast when she was 12 years old. She attended Methodist College and University College London and is currently enrolled in a master’s degree at Ulster University.

Councillor Nicholl lives and works in South Belfast and is married with an 18-month-old son, Cian.

The theme for Councillor Nicholl’s year in office is ‘Our Belfast’, with a commitment to meet the people in every area, to recognise those who are making a difference in every quarter, and to find ways to work with them for the betterment of the city. She also wishes to highlight the voices of children and young people during her year in office and to champion action on climate change and the environment.



Contact Name: Kevin McCabe 
Position Title: Chief Resilience Officer, Battery Park City Authority 
Company Website: www.bpca.ny.gov
LinkedIn: kmccabejr

As Chief Resilience Officer of the Battery Park City Authority, Kevin manages a range of strategic initiatives including the implementation of the organization’s Sustainability Plan, which offers a roadmap for the Battery Park City community to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 



Contact Name: Koulla Yiasouma
Position Title:NI Commissioner for Children and Young People
Company Website: https://www.niccy.org/
Facebook: nichildrencommissioner
Twitter: @nichildcom @ShriekingGreek
LinkedIn: koullayiasouma

Koulla Yiasouma took up appointment as NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) in March 2015.

She trained as a social worker and previously worked in probation, NI Women’s Aid and prior to her appointment was the Director of Include Youth for almost 17 years. She has also been involved in the boards of a number of voluntary and community-based organisations as well as non-departmental public bodies. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of all children, especially those with the most challenging behaviours, and she represented these issues on these bodies.

As a Human Rights institution, the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People is appointed by the First and Deputy First Ministers and tasked to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people across Northern Ireland. This includes advising public authorities and holding them to account in a variety of ways on their delivery of children’s rights. Koulla set key strategic priorities for her term in Office.These include addressing educational inequalities, tackling child poverty, improving emotional and mental well-being and addressing the on-going legacy of the conflict on children and young people.

Koulla is of Greek Cypriot origin and is married with two daughters. She was born in London and is therefore an avid Arsenal supporter.



Contact Name: Larry Kirwan
Position Title: Conceiver Paradise Square, Co-Founder Black 47
Company Website: Black47
Facebook: @LarryKirwan

Larry Kirwan was the leader of the political rock band Black 47 for 25 years. A novelist and playwright he writes a bi-weekly column for The Irish Echo, and hosts Celtic Crush on SiriusXM.



Contact Name: Lenwood Sloan 
Position Title: Board Member- African American Irish Diaspora Network
Company Website: AAIDN.org

Lenwood (Leni) Sloan serves as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Monument Project which preserves, conserves, and rededicates historic and cultural monuments throughout the state. In that capacity, he spearheaded the placement of the first monument dedicated to the 15th and 19th amendments in the United States at Pennsylvania’s Capitol.

He serves as Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s appointee to the Commonwealth Capitol Preservation Committee (CPC). In addition, he is a board member for The African American Irish Diaspora Network (AAIDN), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAFA, the Pennsylvania Downtown Association (PDA), the Lancaster (Pa.) Heritage Society (LHS), the Lancaster (Pa.) Public Arts Program. (LPAP) , the Harrisburg Sprocket Mural Project, and co-convenor and moderator of Lancaster: ARTS TALK!



Contact Name: Lori  Gatsi-Barnett
Position Title: Entrepreneur , Motivational Speaker, Business Consultant,  Founder JoinHer Network
Company Website: https://joinher.co.uk/
Facebook: lori.gatsibarnett

I am entrepreneur , Motivational Speaker, Founder of  JoinHer Network & Director at Terra Nova.

I was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and lived and studied in the Pennsylvania US . Experienced Director with demonstrated history of working in corporate and voluntary administration industry. Skilled in advertising, marketing strategies, business & motivational speaker and event host. I am grateful for the opportunities and my experiences arising from my work as youth Ambassador with World Vision and American Red Cross, participation in numerous panel discussion, including one held in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, my involvement in humanitarian community building projects.

Former Chair of HAPANI ( Horn Of Africa People’s Aid ), Former Director of communications for ACCCNI (African and Caribbean Chamber of Commerce Northern Ireland) .

Having lived and worked across different cultures and countries  , the richness of variety within diversity demands change from us collectively to become the examples of a community transformed and strengthened by us sharing a vision of a brighter tomorrow.



Contact Name: Louise Warde Hunter
Position Title: Principal and Chief Executive
Company Website: www.belfastmet.ac.uk
Facebook: BelfastMet
Twitter: @bfastmet @WardeHunter
LinkedIn: Louise Warde Hunter

Prior to her appointment in April 2020 as Principal and Chief Executive of the Belfast Met, Louise Warde Hunter was a senior civil servant for over 13 years, spanning Education, Justice and Housing. Strongly committed to diversity and inclusion, Louise was both the Gender Champion for NICS and Chair of the NICS Women’s Network. Following her early career in the private sector in England, Louise returned to NI to head up Common Purpose, an independent civic leadership trust which she developed into an all island organisation. 



Contact Name: Margaret Molloy
Twitter: @MargaretMolloy
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaretmolloy/
Instagram: wearingirish

Margaret Molloy is Global CMO at Siegel+Gale, the global brand strategy, design and experience firm behind the “simple is smart” ethos. With unlimited imagination and a dedication to the facts, Siegel+Gale builds brands that cut through the clutter—and unlock success for clients. For over fifty years, the firm has partnered with the world’s leading corporations, nonprofits and government organizations to build brand experiences that are remarkably clear and unexpectedly fresh. In other words, simple.

Margaret’s strengths as a connector and moderator have made her a highly influential CMO. Since the COVID lockdown hit, she has hosted 100+ leading CMOs as panelists and 1,000s of guests from across the globe for the Siegel+Gale Future of Branding series. The conversations are available on Margaret’s “How CMOs Commit” podcast.

She was honored as The Drum B2B Marketer of the Year and a Marketing Society Fellow. A thought leader, she has been published in HBR, Fast Company, Forbes, and more and is a sought-after moderator and podcast contributor. She is consistently recognized as one of the top CMOs on Twitter (@MargaretMolloy).

She was previously SVP Marketing at professional network Gerson Lehrman Group and led teams at Siebel Systems (now Oracle).

Margaret is the founder of WearingIrish, a passion project to tell the untold story of Irish fashion design.

Margaret has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and La Universidad de Valladolid, Spain. She is a native of Ireland and lives in Manhattan.

ITLG Silicon Valley Top 50, 2020 award recipient.



Contact Name: Mark Goldstone
Position Title: Partner
Company Website: freyeurandtrogue.com

Mark Goldstone has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, encompassing operations, commercialization, consulting, M&A and Venture Capital. He has led some of the largest specialist consulting and communications groups in the world and was a founding partner at Forepont Capital (VC).

He was COO of EuroRSCG Life (now Havas), Global CEO of healthcare at top brand and business consultancy, Interbrand and Worldwide President of Doyle, Dane and Bernbach global healthcare businesses.

Mark has executed numerous venture investments, M&A, financing and strategic partnership transactions for a broad array of early stage, middle market and emerging growth companies in technology, life sciences and healthcare services.  He has developed successful commercialization strategies and programs from early-stage and market development, to product launch and late-stage lifecycle management for blue-chip pharmaceutical and packaged goods companies including Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, Bayer, GSK, Sanofi, Colgate Palmolive, L’Oreal, Danone, Johnson & Johnson, Roche. In fact, Mark has worked on seven of the world’s top-selling medicines.

Mark began his career as a clinical Pharmacist and is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. He is Board member of the prestigious Galien Foundation.



Contact Name: Mary Ann Pierce
Position Title: Founder
Company Website: www.mapdigital.com

Mary Ann Pierce founded MAP Digital in 2002 and previously  was President of Events Digital, an Internet Service Provider for Event Venues in New York City.

MAP Digital is an end-to-end event platform and managed services agency that provides the people, process, and platform to produce in-person, virtual, and now hybrid, multichannel conferences. MetaMeetings® is our secure Enterprise Software as a Service conference platform. For 20 years the MAP Digital team has deployed the MetaMeetings® platform to run the entire digital infrastructure for CEO councils and global investment banking conferences. At MAP Digital, we help our clients transform their conferences into strategic business channels.

Mary Ann Pierce studied film and communications at Temple University  before working in direct marketing, corporate communications, film, theater, and arts management. She has served on the board of Digital Irish, advised the MIT Enterprise Forum NYC and Silicon Republic’s Inspirefest in Dublin, and taught digital event design at New York University.

Pierce has presented at many events, including the annual meetings of IMEX, PCMA, MPI, and the Empowering Women and Girls 2030 Summit at the United Nations. In 2017, Meetings & Conventions magazine listed her among the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry, and in 2020, Meetings Today magazine named her a Trendsetter.



Contact Name: Maura Kelly
Position Title: Principal, Purple Mountain Media & Sr. Advisor
Twitter: @maurakellymedia
Company Website: purplemountain.media
Linkedin: maurakel

Maura Kelly is a Director, Advisor, Diversity Advocate, and multiple Emmy Award-winning producer. Through her consultancy company, Purple Mountain Media she applies her 20 years of media and broadcasting experience to build program initiatives, immersive events and partnerships. An advocate for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Maura is Senior Advisor and a former Director of LEAP (2019-2020), a women’s leadership acceleration program; Board Advisor to EDsnaps which introduces Gen Z girls to STEM careers, and an Advisory Group member to “Generation Equality,” a UN Women’s initiative. 

Her career spans leadership positions in broadcast television at PBS/WNET Group where she built media franchises and helped raise millions for programs and EdTech initiatives – to working with top-tier media companies, such as The Jim Henson Co and the Tribeca Film Institute to collaborating with Fortune 500 companies and business and cultural organizations. Maura was a Belfast Homecoming Ambassador in 2020. She has a Masters in Media Arts from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) where she was also a lecturer. 



Contact Name: Michael J. Cusick
Position Title: NYS Assembly member 63rd District
Company Website: nyassembly.gov
Facebook: Michaeljcusick
Twitter: MichaelCusick
LinkedIn: Michael Morris

Since his election to the State Assembly in the fall of 2002, Michael J. Cusick, a lifelong resident of Staten Island, has worked to improve the quality of life for all Staten Islanders.

Shortly after graduating from Villanova University in 1991, Cusick began his career in public service as a Special Assistant to the President of the City Council, where he was the representative for the Borough of Staten Island. Following that, Cusick served as the Director of Constituent Services for United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and then as Chief of Staff to former Staten Island Assemblymember Eric N. Vitaliano, where he oversaw the Assembly member’s Albany and Staten Island offices.

Cusick has earned a reputation for dedication and thoughtful public service, tirelessly advocating on behalf of his community. As the senior member of the Staten Island delegation in Albany, with more than two decades of work in government behind him, Cusick brings his expertise to the table while negotiating issues of Island and State-wide importance.

An active member of many civic organizations, Cusick has served on the Staten Island Board of Directors of the Catholic Youth Organization and the Boy Scouts of America. He was the Staten Island Chapter President of the Villanova Alumni Association, and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, John D. Kearney Division 3, as well as the State Island Athletic Club. In 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Cusick to sit on the Blue Ribbon Panel to enhance collaboration between the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities and the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation which honors the legacy of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who laid down his life during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Additionally, Cusick chairs the Handicapped Parking Task Force on Staten Island, which he established shortly after his election. The Task Force works with community groups to address the parking concerns faced by disabled individuals.

In 2011, Cusick developed a program in conjunction with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, known as the Veteran’s Discount Program, that gives veterans a card so they can access discounted items at many local businesses. The number of veterans and participating businesses continues to grow – a tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

In 2012, New York City proposed reopening the former Fresh Kills Landfill as a site for a waste-to-energy facility. Cusick fiercely opposed the plan, citing a state law he helped craft in 1996 which closed the former landfill to the receipt and processing of garbage forever. Standing firm, Cusick and his colleagues won the battle and the administration backed off the proposal.

A passionate activist for Staten Island youth, Cusick labored on behalf of Pouch Camp, a New York City Boy Scout Sanctuary, by securing funding to keep this venerable Staten Island institution from being sold to developers. Cusick also successfully fought to restore yellow school bus serves to Staten Island for seventh and eighth grade students in 2012. In 2008, Cusick created a program called the “Total Fitness Challenge” which encourages Staten Island students from kindergarten through eighth grade to read and exercise during their summer break. An unflagging voice against childhood obesity, he challenges children to keep track of their activities and turn their score cards in upon returning to school. An awards ceremony follows where the children are congratulated for their achievements.

On the legislative front, Cusick is a strong voice on behalf of his constituents in the State Capitol and has sponsored numerous bills which have become law. In 2007, legislation sponsored by Cusick created the 13th Judicial District for Richmond County. Staten Island had long sought its own Judicial District, and now the Island has a significant role to play in selecting justices for the State Supreme Court. In response to protestors who targeted military funerals across the nation, Cusick passed legislation in 2006 that creates a 100-foot buffer zone. As protests continued, he passed two more bills in 2011 that ultimately increased the buffer zone to 300 feet and created a required permit for such demonstrations.

In an effort to combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic on Staten Island, Cusick was the architect of a law that established a real time prescription drug monitoring program that requires medical professionals and pharmacists to report and track prescriptions of controlled substances. This law, enacted in 2012, makes New York a leader by being among the first states to have such a program. In 2014, Cusick continued his efforts with a law that required insurance companies to use certain criteria when making decisions about in-patient treatment programs to ensure individuals have access to proper treatment and an expedited appeals process if they are denied. Cusick furthered his work to combat addition in 2016 with a law that allowed trained licensed professionals to administer opioid overdose reversal medication and required hospitals to provide patients with available follow-up treatment options.

Following Superstorm Sandy, Cusick introduced legislation to include home health care and hospice agencies in local Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans that are submitted to the Division of Homeland Security. Cusick saw that chaos that took place in the days and weeks following the storm where nurses and home health care aides were unable to reach homebound patients. Following much input from the agencies, counties, and the Division of Homeland Security, Cusick’s bill was signed into law in 2017.

Cusick has been a member of the American Irish Legislators Society of New York since 2003 and was elected President in 2009. In 2011 he was selected to serve as Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee and, since 2018, he took over as Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee. As Chair of the Energy Committee, Cusick has taken an active role in efforts to secure the energy grid against cybersecurity threats, worked to increase the adoption of electric-drive vehicles, and supported efforts to bring the offshore-wind industry to New York. In addition to sitting on the Assembly Committees on Governmental Employees, Higher Education, Veterans Affairs, and Ways and Means, Cusick is a member of the National Conference of State Legislators Energy Task Force and the Council of State Governments Energy and Environment Committee.



Contact Name: Michael R George
Position Title: President, Keel Harbour Capital

Michael brings 35 years of experience in asset management, and institutional sales and trading across a variety of sectors to Keel Harbour.

Prior to joining Keel Harbour on a full-time basis in 2020, Michael had been a Partner at The Versant Group, a commercial real estate loan origination and investment platform that was sold to a private equity firm.

Until 2017 Michael served as a Managing Director and Partner of Fortress Investment Group, a firm he joined in 2009 having previously spent 10 years with Deutsche Bank where he was a Managing Director in the Institutional Client Group with responsibility for the bank’s largest North American clients.

Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in 1999, Michael served as Co-Head of mortgage-backed securities trading at Lehman Brothers where he started his career in 1986.

Michael graduated from St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge University with an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science and a postgraduate diploma in Computer Science. At Cambridge, Michael represented the University 1st XV at rugby.



Contact Name: Michael Morris
Position Title: International Sales Director
Company Website: www.hinchdistillery.com
Facebook: Michael Morris
Twitter: @M66DMO
LinkedIn: Michael Morris

Married and Living in Belfast I am the International Sales Director for Hinch Distillery located in Co Down N Ireland. Educated at Queens University in Belfast and a past pupil of St Marys Christian Brothers Grammar School, I have worked in the drinks business for over 30 years in the beer, wine and now spirit sectors – specifically involved in the dynamic growth of Irish Whisky for the last 20 years. Enjoy travelling the world in search of markets for our Irish Whiskey brand Hinch and our Gin brand The Ninth Wave and despite Covid we are exporting to over 28 countries around the world. Looking forward to the next five years when our own distillery spirit matures into the finest single Malt Whiskey. Outside of work I have a large loving family and enjoy nothing more than getting back on track with our family gatherings that have suffered in the last 18 months. Love Celtic FC and hoping for a much better season this year and high hopes for the new manager and team.



Contact Name: Miriam Nyhan Grey (Dr.)
Position Title: Associate Director and NYU’s Global Coordinator for Irish Studies, NYU
Company Website: nyu.edu
Facebook: gihnyu
Twitter: @GIHNYU

Miriam Nyhan Grey has an interest in the intersections of migration, race and ethnicity and she focuses on immigrant and ethnic experiences in comparative frameworks. She has been on faculty at NYU since 2009 teaching an array of classes on Irish history and migration, oral history and comparative migration. She is a collaborator on the oral history collection at NYU’s Archives of Irish America. She hosts the weekly “This Irish American Life” public radio hour on WNYE 91.5 FM. In 2018, Miriam initiated the Black, Brown and Green Voices project to amplify the voices of Black and Brown Irish Americans. She sits on the board of the African American Irish Diaspora Network. Presently, Miriam is editing a collection of essays on Jewish and Irish American experiences in the United States with a leading scholar of American immigration Professor Hasia R. Diner. Miriam is also the Associate Editor of The Glucksman Irish Diaspora Series at NYU Press.



Contact Name: Paul Stapleton
Position Title: Managing Director
Company Website: nienetworks
Facebook: NIEnetworks
Twitter: @NIElectricity
LinkedIn: NIEnetworks

Paul Stapleton was appointed Managing Director and a member of the Board of NIE Networks in May 2018.  He is a director of the UK Energy Networks Association, European Distribution System Operators (E.DSO), the Northern Ireland Centre for Competitiveness, and a committee member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Northern Ireland.  He has 30 years experience in the energy industry having joined ESB in 1991 where he held a number of senior management positions including General Manager of Electric Ireland, ESB Group Treasurer and Financial Controller of ESB Networks Limited.  He is an IoD Chartered Director and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.



Contact Name: Peter Boyle
Position Title: Owner and Founder of jewellery retailer Argento and Let’s Go Hydro water sports and activity resort.
Company Website: argento.com

Pete Boyle travelled from his hometown of Strabane to the market stalls of Belfast, to sell his selection of hand-picked jewellery. Quickly discovering his craft and the public’s reaction to his jewellery, the first Argento store opened in 1997 in Belfast. Argento comes from the Italian word for silver, what Argento is best known for! Fast forward to the present day and our stores are a visual treat for the eyes, inspired by the heritage of Belfast. Argento is now in 23 locations across the UK and Ireland and you can browse our jewellery online from almost anywhere in the world.



Contact Name: Rachel Kennedy 
Position Title: Director, EastSide Arts
Company Website: eastsidearts.net
Facebook: eastsideartsbel
Twitter: eastsidearts

Rachel is Director of the EastSide Arts Festival and is responsible to the board for the overall vision and strategic direction of EastSide Arts. She is passionate about creative collaborations with artists to deliver really exciting and unique events for residents of and visitors to the east. Rachel is Chair of Terra Nova Productions, Belfast’s intercultural theatre company, and a Director of Dumbworld, an artist-led creative production company. 
Before joining EastSide Arts, Rachel was Arts Officer with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, running the live programme at Down Arts Centre for almost ten years, and is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme (2012/13).



Contact Name: Russell Smyth
Position Title: Head of KPMG Sustainable Futures
Company Website:  www.kpmg.ie
Twitter: @KPMG_Ireland
LinkedIn: kpmgIreland

Russell is a Partner in KPMG Ireland and leads KPMG Sustainable Future, the firm’s dedicated climate & sustainability advisory practice.  Russell has over 15 years’ experience in the low carbon and sustainability sector, supporting corporates and semi-state organisations develop and implement ESG and decarbonisation strategies.



Contact Name: Sarah Gribben
Position Title: Ambassador Programme Manager
Company Website: meetbelfast.com
Facebook: VisitBelfastBiz
LinkedIn: sarahgribben

Working within the tourism sector for the last 15 years my role is now focused on building back a better Belfast by attracting strategic, high profile conferences that support Belfast & Northern Ireland’s key sectors and showcase NI as a place to invest, do business, study, work and live. Business events create platforms and opportunities for growing and scaling companies to access investors/partners and have a huge role to play in showcasing research/knowledge base.



Contact Name: Sarah Street
Position Title: Actor/Co Curator of Origin’s 1st Irish Festival in NYC
Facebook: Sarah Street

Twitter: @sarahstreet7
LinkedIn: @therealsarahstreet

Sarah Street is an Irish born, New York based actor/writer/director. She works in theatre, film, television and voiceover.  Most recently Sarah performed in Afterwards, a one woman piece and new work written directed by Enda Walsh and commissioned by the Irish Arts Center. This year for the second year running Sarah is set to curate Origin’s 1st Irish Festival, with fellow Corkonian Michael Mellamphy.



Contact Name: Sorcha Mac Laimhin
Position Title: Development Manager (Major Gifts)
Company Website: www.qub.ac.uk/alumni
Facebook: QUBelfast

Twitter: QUBelfast
LinkedIn: sorchamaclaimhin

Sorcha Mac Laimhin is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast (BA Drama Studies) and is now a Development Manager at the university, focusing on Major Gifts.  Sorcha’s career in philanthropy has spanned over a decade and she previously held the role of Corporate Fundraiser at a Northern Ireland based children’s cancer charity.  A particular career highlight for Sorcha has been working with the Belfast Tech Alliance to raise £20,000 in support of the Queen’s Pathway Opportunity Programme through a virtual ‘Zoom Dinner’ in December 2020.  A sports enthusiast, Sorcha has been a member of the Ulster Women’s Rugby Squad since 2009 and recently launched ‘Mama Loves Sport’, a social media platform which aims to get more Mums involved in sports. 



Contact Name: 
Suzanne Curran
Position Title: Head Client Solutions & Service Delivery, Chain IQ

Suzanne Curran Aquino, Head Client Solutions and Service Delivery is responsible for end-to-end sourcing and procurement services for one of Chain IQ US Inc., financial services clients.

Chain IQ US Inc., an independent global service company that provides strategic, tactical, and operational solutions. Chain IQ operates from its main centers: Zürich (headquarters), New York, London, Singapore, Mumbai and Bucharest. It currently services clients in more than 20 countries, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia.

 In her previous role as a Global Category Manager for Outsourcing and Offshoring at Chain IQ, Suzanne advised her clients on new ways to create value in an environment of rapidly changing technology, advancing automation, and an increasingly customer-experience-driven economy.

 Prior to joining Chain IQ, Suzanne spent 15 years at UBS, where she led strategic sourcing teams responsible for establishing and executing the bank’s strategy. She identified opportunities to reduce spending, optimize costs, improve processes, and ensure the effective transition, execution, and sustainable performance of the bank’s outsourced portfolios.

 Suzanne lives with her husband in Manhattan, where they share a passion for the arts from their respective Irish and Italian heritages. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing.  Suzanne is a proud recipient of the 2018 Belfast Homecoming Ambassador Medal and she was recently appointed to the Irish Business Organization Advisory Board.



Contact Name: Suzanne Wylie
Position Title: Chief Executive, Belfast City Council
Company Website: www.belfastcity.gov.uk
Facebook: belfastcitycouncil

Twitter: belfastcc
LinkedIn: belfastcitycouncil

As Chief Executive of Belfast City Council and Chair of Innovation City Belfast, Suzanne is committed to working with key partners to weave digital innovation, research, development and business cluster support into all aspects of Belfast’s economy, infrastructure and public services through the establishment of the city’s first digital innovation partnership, Innovation City Belfast. Innovation City Belfast has recently appointed a Digital Commissioner and Innovation District Director to help create smart innovation districts with business clusters in growth sectors such as tech and health diagnostics and analytics.

Suzanne has led the Local Government end of the £1bn Belfast Region City Deal with five R&D Centres of Excellence sub-regional innovation hubs – this investment will be a key pillar of how the city and its region rebuilds and recovers in the wake of COVID-19 with a huge focus on innovation and digital investment to propel competitive advantage.

During her time, she has built strong relationships with the private and wider public sector –pitching Belfast globally as a great place to live, work, visit and invest, ensuring the city remains not only resilient to the uncertainty and disruption of the coming decade – but will have the depth and agility to seize the many opportunities of a transforming global economy.



Contact Name: Tiana Sloan
Position Title: Director, Veterans Success Programs at Manhattan College

Tiana Sloan, Director of Veterans Success Programs at Manhattan College, is a nonprofit professional who has worked in the sector for more than 25 years. The Manhattan College Veterans Success Programs is nationally recognized by Military Times, US News and World Report, and GI Jobs. For the first time ever, Manhattan College has earned the Military Friendly gold designation for the 2021-22 academic year, after having silver status for the previous six years. The program supports over 100 student veterans annually in their transition from military service to college and later on to careers in engineering, business, healthcare, and more. 

Prior to her work with veterans, Sloan has worked to develop programs and secure funding for organisations including Osborne Association, American Lung Association, and Continuum Health Partners. 

Sloan has a B.S. in Public Affairs concentrating in Nonprofit and Public Management from Baruch College. A native New Yorker, Sloan is the proud wife of a US Army veteran (John) and mother of two girls (Kiera and Deirdre). 



Contact Name: Tonya McMorrow
Position Title: Delivery Director (North America)
Company Website: www.kainos.com

Tonya joined Kainos in 2012 as a technical consultant and quickly progressed through the company into senior roles in both product and programme management. She spearheaded Kainos’ digital transformation engagement with UK central government from early 2012, and has experience in healthcare and commercial sectors.

Alongside her day job, she previously led the Kainos Delivery Management capability and is passionate about talent development and developing digital skills – both internally and in the wider community. Tonya was instrumental in leading Kainos’ newest digital hub in Birmingham, and is currently heading up Digital Services delivery in North America.  She is now part of a team responsible for growing Kainos in North America by unlocking the benefits of digital, data and technology to improve outcomes for business and wider society.

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